This week marks the launch of the all-new Range Rover. The 2013 Range Rover 4 is the fourth generation of the iconic off-roader which promises more space, more luxury, less weight and improved performance and emissions.
But what of the models that preceeded this bold new world?
The story started in 1966, when spurred on by the sucess of the Ford Bronco in America, Rover realised there was a huge gap in the market which, given its experience in building go-anywhere vehicles, it was uniquely placed to fill.
Charles 'Spen' King, one of Britain's greatest car designers, began work on a prototype. He, and right-hand man Gordon Bashford, not only came up with the new car's mechanical package, but created (with a little help from his colleagues in the design department) the basic shape of the car. So impressed was the chairman of new owner, Leyland, Donald Stokes, that he commissioned the project.
In 1970 the first Range Rover rolled off the Solihull production line, and was immediately praised by the press. Little changed until 1981, when a four-door was launched. It took until 1986 for a diesel engine to be introduced. The Mk1 Range Rover, now called the Classic was gradually becoming more luxurious too.
The second generation model launched in 1994. Despite strong sales and a plush cabin, Land Rover's new owners, BMW, were never happy with it. The Mk2 lasted just six years before it was replaced.
Now under Ford ownership, the third-generation Range Rover launched in 2001. It leads the class, and is more capable on and off road than ever and had an interior that was hailed as a rival to a Rolls-Royce for its design, refinement and comfort. That it will remain on sale until next year is testament to the appeal and ability it offers.